Protecting the safety of agri-food workers through the Emergency Processing Fund
September 4, 2020 – Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, was at Exceldor Cooperative in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec, today to announce a number of initial projects funded under the $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund.
The Emergency Processing Fund is focused on projects to help companies respond to the urgent health and safety needs of workers in agri-food sectors impacted by COVID-19, with an emphasis on supporting meat processing facilities.
Nationally, a total of 32 projects have been approved so far, for up to $10.54 million in funding. Funding has helped businesses purchase reusable PPE, sanitation stations and protective barriers, make adjustments to production lines to enable social distancing, develop additional training and adopt other measures that help safeguard employees from COVID-19. All remaining projects are currently being assessed and will be finalized in the coming weeks.
Minister Bibeau made the announcement while visiting the Exceldor Cooperative plant that will receive up to $262,500 to purchase reusable personal protective equipment (PPE), and install equipment to ensure social distancing of staff at the facility.
The Government of Canada will continue working with food processors to ensure the well-being of essential workers in food processing plants across Canada while strengthening the resilience of our food supply chain.
"Workers in the agri-food sector, in particular those working in meat processing, have faced many challenges throughout this pandemic and the Government has been there to support them. Ensuring the safety of these essential workers is key to continue providing safe, high quality food for all Canadians."
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"The support announced by the federal government today was expected and is much appreciated. Despite the many challenges related to COVID-19 in recent months, we have been able to remain present in order to continue to feed Canadians. I would like to thank all of our employees who take their work to heart and who are still at their jobs despite the circumstances. We continue to be committed to providing a work environment that is adapted to the current pandemic conditions, and thus protecting the health of all our employees."
- René Proulx, President and CEO, Exceldor Cooperative
The Emergency Processing Fund will help food processors implement measures to protect the health and safety of workers and their families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also support facility upgrades and help strengthen Canada's food supply.
In Quebec, a total of seven food processors have been approved so far for up to $1.8 million in funding to support their efforts in keeping their employees safe. They include Exceldor, Sunnymel Limited Partnership, Breton Tradition 1944, Oly-Robi Transformation Commandité, Saputo Dairy Products Canada, Serres Toundra Inc. and Montpak International.
Exceldor Coopérative is a Quebec cooperative owned by 400 member farmers who are committed to raising quality poultry products. Exceldor Coopérative has more than 3,450 employees in Canada.
This announcement builds on the measures we have introduced to keep Canada's agri-workforce strong, including:
- Travel exemptions for all migrant workers, including seasonal agricultural workers and fish/seafood workers.
- $50 million in funding for the Mandatory Isolation Support Program for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) to help protect the health and safety of migrant workers in farming, fish harvesting, and food production by helping processing sectors cover the incremental costs associated with the mandatory 14-day isolation period imposed under the Quarantine Act on migrant workers upon entering Canada.
Additional investments were announced July 31, 2020 of $58.6 million in funding to increase support and protections for migrant workers on farms affected by COVID-19 outbreaks.
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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